Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grammar and copywriting affect your SEO

Copywriting and grammar are both important components for successful SEO. There are plenty of crappy articles out there. Why? Because people want to try to spam the search engines. They don't care if the articles are read by their visitors. Such is life in the big city. You won't find that kind of article on this blog, though. Check out this guest post.

Beyond Grammar: Easily Avoided Copywriting Mistakes
Copyright (c) 2010 Enzo F. Cesario

No system is perfect. There are always flaws and breakdowns that
will occur, for any number of reasons. This holds true in the
world of online marketing and especially in the realm of the most
common web practice, copywriting.

Now we are not talking about the obvious mistakes here. Errors of
grammar, syntax, spelling or revision are fairly obvious and can
be averted with a simple double-check by running your article
past a colleague for critique. This article addresses broader
errors of philosophy or doctrine that can cripple an otherwise
technically strong piece of copywriting.

Five Copywriting Mistakes You CAN Avoid

Mistake #1 - Missing your target audience

One of the most important points of any piece of writing is to
address your intended audience. This is true for absolutely every
type of writing out there, without exception. Consider for
example that you're a writer specializing in culinary writing.
You could submit the most well-written, elegant article on
coconut cream pies ever composed. You still would not get very
far with this article if you tried to sell it to someone with a
coconut allergy.

As is often the case, understanding your audience happens before
and after you do the actual writing, making it a 'meta'
principle (outside the actual task itself, but still related).
Avoiding this mistake takes effort. Get in the habit of asking
specific questions of your clients, and researching related
material on their sites if available. Information will help you
avoid targeting a piece to the wrong audience.

Mistake #2 - Going on and on and on and on...

The web is a fast-paced environment. Technology has increased the
speed at which machines can present information, and as a result
people expect to be able to process that information faster. With
so much out there available so quickly, why would anyone linger
on an article that takes too long to get to the point?

Write concisely, focusing on your topic and keeping the content
to a targeted word count. Ensure that each section is no longer
than necessary, to prevent boredom and disinterest.

Again, research is your greatest ally in this case. Knowing your
audience helps, as does being very familiar with your subject.
Examine your sentences and see where you can cut down words
without destroying meaning.

Mistake #3 - Missing the call to action

A great deal of copywriting is done to promote products and
services of every stripe. Similarly, a great deal of copywriting
doesn't do much beyond presenting the basic information. Good
copywriting should include a tangible call to action. Don't just
offer the user more information, invite them to 'Learn more
about it here.'

Wishy-washy language is the weakness in this case. Most people
confuse simple statements such as 'You can learn more' with
powerful calls like 'Learn more.' The first is just
informative. All right, we can learn more, why should we? 'Learn
more and take control' is an imperative that gets people

Mistake #4 - Getting fancified and highfalutin

Contrary to what some people may think, there IS a place for
jargon and technical terminology. That place exists within a
common frame of understanding. When two engineers trade talk
about ohms, resistance, current and capacity, these terms are
intended to speed up understanding and improve their overall

For example you could refer to 'the practice of using keywords,
precise writing, and meta tags to improve search engine results
for websites.' This is cumbersome, so among those who understand
your reference, instead you can use the term Search Engine
Optimization, or the acronym SEO.

The problem with jargon is that it is not universal. Mention
Newtons to the average person, and you're talking about a snack
cake. Mention them to a physicist, and you're discussing
concepts of universal gravitation. The term is valuable to the
latter, irrelevant to the former. The danger in copywriting is
the use of jargon in inappropriate contexts. In a generalized
piece, jargon does not make you look clever, but rather arrogant
or showy.

Restrict your use of jargon to appropriate times. If you have a
reasonable basis to believe others can understand it, go for it.
If you find yourself thinking 'everyone SHOULD know what I
mean,' stop and ask for advice.

Mistake #5 - Skipping the Headline

Attention spans are reducing even as our ability to process
information increases. People want quick, catchy information and
they want it now. Too late, they've moved on. A headline is a
key point in catching someone's attention, and all too often is
neglected or slapped on without consideration.

A good headline should convey just enough information to let them
know what the article is about, yet be vague enough to generate
their interest in reading further. Humorous headlines can be very
effective, as can dramatic or ironic statements. Practice with
headlines, and make them an essential part of your writing,
rather than an accessory.

Enzo F. Cesario is a Copywriter and co-founder of Brandsplat.
Brandcasting uses informative content and state-of-the-art
internet distribution and optimization to build links and
drive the right kind of traffic to your website. Go to or visit our blog at:

Greg Cryns
Work At Home Profiles (affordable membership)
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